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Suicide Kings [Hardcover]

Wild Cards Trust , George R. R. Martin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 22 2009 Wild Cards
From the #1 New York Times bestseller, the third of a new generation of Wild Cards tales

 
In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived to mutate into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Martin (“The American Tolkien”—Time magazine) along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes among the one percent.

 Ranging from New York and New England to ravaged Africa and New Orleans, encompassing war, devastation, and stubborn hope, Suicide Kings advances the story of the Wild Cards, and their struggle to be fully human in a world that fears and mistrusts them.

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Review

“Delicious…Everything I’d hoped for in a new Wild Cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I’d expect out of a George R. R. Martin project.”
—Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, on Inside Straight  
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

George R.R. Martin is the author of the acclaimed, internationally bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, adapted into the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. He is also the editor and contributor to the Wild Cards series, including the novels Suicide Kings and Fort Freak, among other bestsellers. He has won multiple science fiction and fantasy awards, including four Hugos, two Nebulas, six Locus Awards, the Bram Stoker, the World Fantasy Award, the Daedelus, the Balrog, and the Daikon (the Japanese Hugo). Martin has been writing ever since he was a child, when he sold monster stories to neighborhood children for pennies, and then in high school he wrote fiction for comic fanzines. His first professional sale was to Galaxy magazine, when he was 21. He has been a full-time writer since 1979. Martin has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Suicide Kings May 9 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was surprised to find that this book wasn't written by George R.R. Martin, it was only edited by him.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great finish to the latest Wild Cards triad Aug. 2 2010
By Patrick St-Denis TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
At times it feels as though I'm one of the seemingly few readers who gave this newest Wild Cards triad a chance. As good and entertaining as both Inside Straight and Busted Flush were, it's a pity that so little noise has been made about them. Having enjoyed its two predecessors more than I ever thought I would, I was curious to discover how George R. R. Martin and co. would close the show in Suicide Kings.

The action occurs not long following the events chronicled in Busted Flush. The forces of the People's Paradise of Africa clash with the armies of the Caliphate of Arabia. But the PPA, aided by Tom Weathers, have begun a nightmarish program to help them turn the tide of the war. The Wild Cards virus is being injected into thousands of child soldiers, in an attempt to create a new army of powerful aces and jokers. In the aftermath of the nucear explosion in the heart of New Orleans, Michelle Pond remains unconscious. But a little girl named Adesina invades her dreams and beckons. Noel Matthews, spy and assassin, swore never to get involved in international intrigue now that Niobe is part of his life. Yet he realizes that the world needs him for one last mission. Without the UN's blessing, Rustbelt and Gardener embark on a journey which will take them into the heart of Africa to save a boy's life, while committees are bogged down in procedures as they assess how to deal with the PPA. And amidst all the international turmoil, Bugsy manages to make things go from bad to worse every time he opens his mouth.

As always, Suicide Kings was edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass. This latest mosaic novel was produced by Daniel Abraham, S. L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Caroline Spector, Ian Tregillis, and Melinda Snodgrass.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series so far! March 6 2011
By T. L. Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the world of Wildcards, an alien virus was released over New York City in 1946. 90% of all those who contracted the virus died in horrible ways. of the survivors, 90% became hideously mutated due to a psychic reaction, their bodies twisted into parodies of the human shape. These were called Jokers. The lucky 1%, became aces, gifted with marvelous powers.

Suicide Kings is the third novel in a trilogy, that mostly details the aces (and some Jokers) who work for the UN sanctioned Committee. This novel can be read alone, of course, as each of the characters featured (each written by a different writer) follow complete character arcs, and the story, although following the events of the past two novels, is self-contained. If you are new to the WildCards universe, I would suggest going back and reading the first couple of volumes, recently reissued.

This book may be my favorite in the series so far. It may also feature my favorite character of the series so far: Rustbelt. Wally "Rusty" Gunderson is a Joker/Ace, who has indominatable strength, a skin of Iron, and the ability to rust any metal he touches. What makes him my favorite is his indomitable spirit and his heart of gold. He and the other main characters largely become involved with the People's Paradise of Africa, a burgeoning nation led by a sinister brother and sister, and supported by the insane and possibly most powerful Ace on the planet, The Radical. This story has so much intense drama, action, and suspense, I could not put it down. The bad guys are well developed and horrifically interesting. The good guys are fallible, often bumbling, and eminently admirable.

I won't give too much away, except to say that if you read the original novels back in the eighties and nineties, you won't be disappointed. Many of the old characters appear or are referred to by this next generation of heroes.

If you are new to the WildCards universe, I hope that you will pick this volume up and give it a try. The writer's have outdone themselves with creating a story that resonates with excitement and pathos.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great finish to the latest Wild Cards triad Aug. 2 2010
By Patrick St-Denis - Published on Amazon.com
At times it feels as though I'm one of the seemingly few readers who gave this newest Wild Cards triad a chance. As good and entertaining as both Inside Straight and Busted Flush were, it's a pity that so little noise has been made about them. Having enjoyed its two predecessors more than I ever thought I would, I was curious to discover how George R. R. Martin and co. would close the show in Suicide Kings.

The action occurs not long following the events chronicled in Busted Flush. The forces of the People's Paradise of Africa clash with the armies of the Caliphate of Arabia. But the PPA, aided by Tom Weathers, have begun a nightmarish program to help them turn the tide of the war. The Wild Cards virus is being injected into thousands of child soldiers, in an attempt to create a new army of powerful aces and jokers. In the aftermath of the nucear explosion in the heart of New Orleans, Michelle Pond remains unconscious. But a little girl named Adesina invades her dreams and beckons. Noel Matthews, spy and assassin, swore never to get involved in international intrigue now that Niobe is part of his life. Yet he realizes that the world needs him for one last mission. Without the UN's blessing, Rustbelt and Gardener embark on a journey which will take them into the heart of Africa to save a boy's life, while committees are bogged down in procedures as they assess how to deal with the PPA. And amidst all the international turmoil, Bugsy manages to make things go from bad to worse every time he opens his mouth.

As always, Suicide Kings was edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass. This latest mosaic novel was produced by Daniel Abraham, S. L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Caroline Spector, Ian Tregillis, and Melinda Snodgrass.

I feel that Suicide Kings was more political than the first two volumes of the triad. The People's Paradise of Africa's storylines reminds us of the First and Second Congo Wars. Yet the United Nations' inability to deal with such tragedies in a timely fashion also brings to mind the terrible genocide in Rwanda. Which demonstrated yet again how much of a travesty the UN Security Council truly is. Bill Clinton, François Mitterand, Kofi Annan, and various other politicians deserve to be shot in the belly and left to die of a gut wound for letting such atrocities take place during their watch. But I digress. . . In any event, I felt that the politicking between the PPA, the West, and the Middle East was particularly well-done. There are never fully back or white answers to such questions, and I think that the shade of gray which always shrouds such matters was handled adroitely.

I mentioned before that one of the problems with Busted Flush was that the book was all over the place in terms of plotlines. Not so with Suicide Kings, however. There are fewer storylines and a tighter focus on how they are linked to one another.

The characterization remains my favorite facet of the Wild Cards mosaic novels. At times funny, at times touching, and at times butt-kicking, a pretty good balance was struck in this third volume. With a number of all-star characters having been killed and others turning their backs on the Committee, two unlikely heroes emerge in this one. Realizing that both Rustbelt and Gardener would take center stage in Suicide Kings made me raise an eyebrow at the beginning, but they made me a believer early on. We witness a lot of character growth where these two are concerned, which makes their storylines as heartbreaking as they are entertaining.

There are a few touching moments between Noel and Niobe, and the relationship between Tom Weathers and Sun Hei-lan takes a few unexpected turns. But it's the poignant finale that makes this one special. Bittersweet, yes (Would you expect anything less from GRRM?), yet a satisfying ending to a solid trilogy.

Although tragic in many ways, Suicide Kings leaves the door open for a lot of things to come. And judging by the quality of this newest Wild Cards triad, I think it's safe to say that the franchise is in very good hands. Which bodes well for the future of this long-running series!

To all the authors involved in this latest Wild Cards project, kudos for a job well-done! You've made me a Wild Cards fan!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent conclusion to this Wild Cards trilogy April 19 2010
By David Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Suicide Kings is the latest in the Wild Cards series of novels, and the third in an apparent trilogy. It's interesting that the three novels are all what are called "Mosaic" novels, one overall story with different parts of it told by different authors, yet all three have a different format. Inside Straight had individual stories that all tied together, with each story written by the protagonist's creator. Busted Flush did the same, but the story wasn't divided into separate stories, but just chapters instead. Now, Suicide Kings gets rid of all that and has each chapter cover a day, with different sections of the chapter dealing with each hero, much like a book written by just one author. I have to admire editors George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass for keeping it all together and coherent. It's also a wonderful conclusion to the saga.

In 1946, an alien virus hit New York, killing 90 percent of the residents, turning 9 percent into monstrosities called "Jokers" and giving the other 1 percent some type of "Ace" or super power. These Aces have lived their lives, becoming celebrities and sometimes fighting crime or villains with plans for world domination. Tensions are still high in Africa between the newly formed "Caliphate" of Middle Eastern nations and the Congo People's Paradise, run by an insane dictator (Dr. Nshombo), his equally insane sister (Alicia), and an Ace named Tom who has a secret of his own. The dictator and his sister are infecting children with the Wild Card virus in an attempt to build an army of Aces and Jokers with powers that can help them consolidate their power. But the Aces from the Western world are coming; some of them coming for Tom and others to stop the monstrous experiments before any more children can be murdered for their wicked ends.

There is a lot more going, but that's the basic form of the plot. There are a lot of interpersonal relationships between the Aces that have to be dealt with, whether it's Cameo's fixation on her dead lover (by wearing a piece of a dead person's clothing, she can actually be that person) and Bugsy's use of her to channel his dead lover, or Bubbles' guilt over, during the New Orleans hurricane, having slept with a young street woman who has the power to animate the dead. Bubbles is a model, but as she takes physical abuse, she becomes fatter and fatter, though she can release that energy in the form of explosive bubbles. At the end of the last book (SPOILER WARNING FOR BUSTED FLUSH) she absorbed the force of a nuclear blast and was thought to be dead. In her dormant state, she felt the cry of a young girl from Congo who was having those experiments done to her.

All of these individual storylines lead toward the Congo People's Republic, and they are tied together very well by the various authors. I literally could not tell who was writing what parts of these chapters, with the viewpoint changing from one character to another (I'm assuming that each author wrote the sections from his/her own Ace's point of view, but I don't know). The prose is excellent throughout, with great dialogue and great description, especially of the Heart of Africa's oppressiveness. As Rusty and Jerusha make their way from Tanzania to the Congo, I could almost feel the jungle heat bearing down on me. It didn't matter who was writing the section, either.

It's the relationships that really make Suicide Kings shine, though. Whether it's the naivete of Rusty partnered with Jerusha's experience, or Bubbles and her personal issues with what happened in New Orleans, the whole Bugsy/Cameo/dead lover situation, or quite a few others, the characterization just shines from this novel. They are all interesting in one way or the other, even the ones who get a bit of short shrift in this novel, like the Committee's leader, Lohengrin.

There's nothing I can really point to and say it didn't work, though there were slow spots here and there. The book does feel a bit choppy at times as each characters section of the chapter can be quite abbreviated, but this also adds to the immediacy of the situation by not letting the reader rest. It also makes it a bit harder to put down on your nightstand before bed, as you can always say "just one more section, it's short." For those of you easily offended, there is a bit of sex in the book (not much, though) and definitely bad language and adult situations.

Suicide Kings is an excellent conclusion of this trilogy, though there is plenty of room for further books in the series. This story, however, comes to a definitive conclusion, with certain Aces coming to terms with where they are in life, other Aces dying in the heat of battle (one great thing about this series is that anybody can die at any time), and the main threat has been dealt with in some fashion. I am looking forward to seeing if anything else is done with these characters or this world, or whether the Wild Cards universe was just resurrected for this trilogy. This book is the best of the bunch.

Originally published on Curled Up With a Good Book © David Roy, 2010
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, better than most of the wild card books! Jan. 6 2013
By Ku - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read all the wild card books and after the first 9 the series took a bit of a downslide, this new trilogy did a good job of introducing new characters and adressing old issues under a fresh light. There are a few things that could be better developed as the conclusion feels a bit rushed but the drama and the action is still there and as good as the old books. Coming from a country where child soldiers are a reality I think the authors where very respectfull of this serious issue and I think they did a great job in their intent of making people aware of this awfull tragedy. Hope you enjoy the book and if you can find a way to help with this issue, every parent that lives in countries such as the ones depicted on the book will thank you!
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it very much Sept. 4 2014
By Randall Lemon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although this book uses the currently popular method of hooping back and forth between numerous characters in various parts of the world, one gradually gets use to the shifting and eventually falls into the rhythm of the separate story lines until they finally coalesce into one late in the novel. Characters are generally very consistent though early on it is a little hard to keep them separate especially since there are some who embody numerous personalities within themselves. The story finally comes together and ultimately one sorts out the characters and after that it is a wild ride to the finish. I enjoyed it very much.
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